HENNIKER — A local man has been released on $50,000 cash bail after allegedly trying to burn down his ex-wife’s home while watching the couple’s three children.
Matthew Patenaude, 47, whose most recent address is 111 Old Francestown Road in Weare, was arrested on Wednesday on a charge of arson, a Class B felony.
According to an arrest affidavit filed with the Hillsborough District Court by Inspector Danielle Cole of the state Fire Marshal’s office, Patenaude tried to burn down a single-family house at 119 Colby Hill Road in Henniker on Oct. 25 where his former wife and three children lived.
The affidavit said that Patenaude and his former wife were separated for more than a year but he refused to finalize the divorce. After some time passed, Ashley Patenaude filed again for divorce, and it went through.
She began a relationship with Ignatius “Martin” Ferreira who occasionally stayed at the house, said the affidavit. Weeks before the fire, the couple were coming out of the bedroom when they encountered Patenaude in the hallway. Patenaude reportedly said, “I guess we’re going to have a blood bath,” to the couple, according to the affidavit.
The court documents said that on the day of the fire, she was unable to find a babysitter for the couple’s three boys, ages 7, 5, and 3, so she asked Patenaude to come to her home to watch the children. Patenaude stayed with the youngest child throughout the day, while the older children were at school. According to the affidavit, over the course of the day, witnesses told investigators that they saw Patenaude taking plastic totes off of the trailer Ferreira had left parked in the driveway while he was at work. Patenaude was seen bringing the totes in the house, and leaving the house with the children’s bicycles and other belongings that he then put in his truck, according to the affidavit.
When the two older children came home from school at 3:30 pm, Patenaude loaded them into his truck and brought them to his parents’ house in Weare, where he was residing. At 3:45 p.m., a passerby reported a fire at the home, according to the affidavit.
As fire departments put out the fire and investigators began their work, the children remained with their father overnight in Weare, and were returned to their mother the following morning. However, police were unable to find Patenaude for several days after the fire, according to the affidavit. His brother, Mark Patenaude, reportedly told investigators that his brother was “paranoid,” paperwork says. In addition, Mark Patenaude also reportedly told investigators that his brother had taken a shotgun from his home and put it in his truck stating, “He deserves to get shot,” apparently referring to Ferreira.Upon investigating the fire, Cole said in the affidavit that it appeared that the fire started beneath the basement stairs in a pair of plastic totes, the same kind that were found on Ferreira’s trailer, along with a container that had carried diesel fuel — also apparently from the trailer — and a lighter. Cole determined that the fire, which caused damage from the basement to the attic, was started intentionally.Following the investigation, an arrest warrant was issued for Patenaude and he was taken into custody on Wednesday. On Thursday afternoon, he was released on $50,000 cash bail. He is expected to return to court on Nov. 19 at 10 am for a probable cause hearing.